What is the Best Food for Betta Fish (great foods your Betta will enjoy)

I have been keeping, breeding, and showing Betta fish around the county for over 2 decades. Hundreds of Bettas have passed through my fish room over that time. For me, it is easy to see why Betta fish are so popular.

Eating Daphnia
Eating Daphnia

When I give talks at fish shows and clubs around the country, one of the most common questions I get asked by members of the audience is ‘What is the best food to feed my Betta?’. The answer is not always a simple one!

What is the Best Food For a Betta?

Betta fish are carnivores, which means they need to eat meaty foods. In their natural habitat, Betta fish will eat a lot of waterborne insects and crustaceans as well as worms and invertebrates. They also take advantage of bugs and insects that fall into their waterway.

In captivity, Betta fish need to be fed a suitable diet so they get the full range of vitamins and minerals they need to grow and be healthy.

Over the years I have fed my Bettas countless different foods. It would probably be true to say I have tried almost every food on the market. Below I have compiled a list of the foods which I feel my Bettas were most successful eating.

Which food turns out to be best for your Betta will largely depend on your individual Betta. They have their own personalities and they even seem to have their own tastes and preferences.



Best Pellet Food For Betta Fish?

I think pellets are my main go-to staple food for my Bettas. Floating pellets are preferable over sinking ones as Betta’s really want to eat their food either from the surface or as the food slowly sinks through the water column.

Betta fish will eat from the bottom of the tank, but it is certainly not their first choice.

When looking for pellet food for a Betta, the main ingredients should be meat-based. Bug Bites for instance is made from Black Soldier Fly Larvae, and Hikari Betta Bio-Gold is made with premium quality fish meal.

Fluval Bug Bites Betta Formula

I have been feeding my Betta’s Bug Bites since they first came to the market.

The primary ingredient in Bug Bites is Black Soldier Fly Larvae which are extremely high in protein. Bug Bites are also high in Omega 3 and Omega 6.

I have found that Bug Bites Betta Formula floats for a long time, whereas some of the other Bug Bites formulas in the range tend to sink quite quickly, so are probably best avoided for Bettas.

Hikari Betta Bio-Gold

This is another food that I have been feeding to my Bettas for a long time. Much like the Bug Bites Betta Formula, this food floats for a long time which means your Betta can take their time eating, and it makes monitoring how much your Betta has eaten really easy.

Betta Bio-Gold has been developed by Hikari (one of the world’s most renowned fish food manufacturers) specifically with Betta fish in mind and the ingredients have been chosen to promote growth, health, and color.

Fish meal and krill meal are two of the top listed ingredients in this food and they cater to the Betta’s desire to eat meaty food.

Ultra Fresh – Betta Pro Shrimp Patties

Betta Pro Shrimp Patties by Ultra Fresh is the newest food in my Betta food store cupboard. I only discovered this food recently, but my Bettas go crazy for it.

At the time of writing, every Betta in my fish room will readily eat Betta Pro Shrimp Patties.

This food has been developed from 100% natural, high-quality ingredients, with wild Sword Prawns being one of the main ingredients.

My Favorite
Fluval Bug Bites Betta Fish Food, Granules for Small to Medium Sized Fish, 1.06 oz.
Hikari Tropical Betta Bio-Gold Fish Food, 0.70 oz (20g)
Ultra Fresh Betta Fish Food, Betta Pro Shrimp Patties, 50% Sword Prawns + Akiami Paste Shrimps, All Natural Protein, Rich in Calcium, for Betta's Healthy Development and Cleaner Water, 0.7 oz
Fluval Bug Bites Betta Fish Food, Granules for Small to Medium Sized Fish, 1.06 oz.
Hikari Tropical Betta Bio-Gold Fish Food, 0.70 oz (20g)
Ultra Fresh Betta Fish Food, Betta Pro Shrimp Patties, 50% Sword Prawns + Akiami Paste Shrimps, All Natural Protein, Rich in Calcium, for Betta's Healthy Development and Cleaner Water, 0.7 oz
Suitable for Bettas
Floating Pellet
Granual Size
0.25-1.0mm
0.5mm
1.5mm
Prime
My Favorite
Fluval Bug Bites Betta Fish Food, Granules for Small to Medium Sized Fish, 1.06 oz.
Fluval Bug Bites Betta Fish Food, Granules for Small to Medium Sized Fish, 1.06 oz.
Suitable for Bettas
Floating Pellet
Granual Size
0.25-1.0mm
Prime
Hikari Tropical Betta Bio-Gold Fish Food, 0.70 oz (20g)
Hikari Tropical Betta Bio-Gold Fish Food, 0.70 oz (20g)
Suitable for Bettas
Floating Pellet
Granual Size
0.5mm
Prime
Ultra Fresh Betta Fish Food, Betta Pro Shrimp Patties, 50% Sword Prawns + Akiami Paste Shrimps, All Natural Protein, Rich in Calcium, for Betta's Healthy Development and Cleaner Water, 0.7 oz
Ultra Fresh Betta Fish Food, Betta Pro Shrimp Patties, 50% Sword Prawns + Akiami Paste Shrimps, All Natural Protein, Rich in Calcium, for Betta's Healthy Development and Cleaner Water, 0.7 oz
Suitable for Bettas
Floating Pellet
Granual Size
1.5mm
Prime

Last update on 2022-09-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API



Best Flake Food For Betta Fish?

Flake food is another excellent choice of food for a Betta fish. Manufacturers have been making flake food almost since the dawn of the fish-keeping hobby, and some brands now even cater specifically to Betta fish.

Where flakes have a major advantage over other foods is their natural desire to float. Most fish food flakes will sit on the surface for long enough that the Betta can easily pick them off.

I usually have 3 or 4 different types of flake food in my fish room at any one time. Below I have listed the three which seem to be enjoyed most by my Bettas.

Bug Bites Betta Flakes

Much like the Bug Bites Betta pellets, these flakes are made from Black Soldier Fly Larvae, which are naturally high in protein and exactly the type of food a Betta would eat in the wild.

Other listed ingredients include herring meal, krill meal, shrimp meal, and salmon oil. These ingredients are also high in protein as well as Omega 3 and Omega 6.

Fluval claims these flakes enhance Bettas’ colors, and in my experience, I would agree with them. All my Bettas enjoy these flakes and I would certainly recommend them to others.

TetraMin Tropical Flakes

TetraMin Tropical Flakes are a staple in my fish room. I feed them to just about every fish I own.

Tetra is one of the oldest fish food manufacturers and they have been producing good quality flake food for many years.

These flakes have shrimp in them which appeals to the Bettas.

Xtreme Aquatic Foods Krill Flakes

Xtreme Krill Flakes, as the name suggests, is a flake food that has krill as its main ingredient. In fact, the first three listed ingredients are Krill Meal, Fish Meal, and Shrimp Meal.

I have tried Xtreme Krill Flakes with my Bettas, and they go nuts for it. I am fairly sure they would literally eat this food until they exploded.

Xtreme flakes have a slightly different texture to other flakes, which I believe is due to the amount of krill in the flakes.

Fluval Bug Bites Color Enhancing Fish Food for Betta Fish, Flakes for Small to Medium Sized Fish, 0.63 oz., A7366, Brown
TetraMin Plus Tropical Flakes, Cleaner and Clearer Water Formula, 1-Ounce
My Favorite
Xtreme Aquatic Fish Foods Krill Flake (1oz Jar) - Hormone Free - Made in USA - High Protein & Max Color
Fluval Bug Bites Color Enhancing Fish Food for Betta Fish, Flakes for Small to Medium Sized Fish, 0.63 oz., A7366, Brown
TetraMin Plus Tropical Flakes, Cleaner and Clearer Water Formula, 1-Ounce
Xtreme Aquatic Fish Foods Krill Flake (1oz Jar) - Hormone Free - Made in USA - High Protein & Max Color
Suitable for Bettas
Floating food
Prime
Fluval Bug Bites Color Enhancing Fish Food for Betta Fish, Flakes for Small to Medium Sized Fish, 0.63 oz., A7366, Brown
Fluval Bug Bites Color Enhancing Fish Food for Betta Fish, Flakes for Small to Medium Sized Fish, 0.63 oz., A7366, Brown
Suitable for Bettas
Floating food
Prime
TetraMin Plus Tropical Flakes, Cleaner and Clearer Water Formula, 1-Ounce
TetraMin Plus Tropical Flakes, Cleaner and Clearer Water Formula, 1-Ounce
Suitable for Bettas
Floating food
Prime
My Favorite
Xtreme Aquatic Fish Foods Krill Flake (1oz Jar) - Hormone Free - Made in USA - High Protein & Max Color
Xtreme Aquatic Fish Foods Krill Flake (1oz Jar) - Hormone Free - Made in USA - High Protein & Max Color
Suitable for Bettas
Floating food
Prime

Last update on 2022-09-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API



Best Live Foods For Bettas?

Live foods are the foods that come closest to reproducing a Bettas natural diet. Live foods tend to be made up of waterborne worms, insects, or crustaceans.

The most commonly available live foods that Betta fish will eat are Bloodworms, Daphnia, Mosquito Larvae, and Cyclops. Each live food has its pros and cons, but essentially, any live food is better than no live food at all.

The two main downsides of live foods are their availability and difficulty to store. Live foods may only last a few days and will die if not fed to your fish.



Bloodworms

In my experience, bloodworms are the most readily available live food. Most good local fish stores will have live bloodworms for sale. Bloodworms are high in protein and fat and make an excellent addition to a Bettas diet.

Bloodworms get their name due to their deep red coloration. Bloodworms however are not true worms. Rather they are the larval stage of the non-biting midge fly. Their bright red coloration is thanks to high levels of iron-porphyrin protein in their bodies.

Bloodworms exist in watercourses all around the world and make up part of the natural diet of Bettas as well as thousands of other fish species. When in the water, bloodworms wriggle around constantly, which only makes them more attractive to Bettas.

Daphnia

Daphnia, which is sometimes given the name water fleas thanks to the jerky way they move through the water, is another waterborne crustacean that is found in almost every river, stream, pond, and lake around the world. Much like bloodworms, daphnia would make up part of a Bettas natural diet.

Daphnia is a shelled crustacean, and the shells have a natural laxative effect on Bettas. This means they are great at keeping our Bettas going to the bathroom on a regular basis. It also means Daphnia can be fed to a constipated Betta to try and get its bowels moving.

I try to feed my Bettas daphnia 2 to 3 times a week to try and make sure they never suffer from constipation.

Mosquito Larvae

Mosquito larvae are loved by Betta fish. Mosquito larvae are one of the easier live foods we can produce at home. Simply place a bucket of old tank water in your backyard, and the chances are within a week or two, a mosquito will have laid its eggs in the bucket and there will be hundreds of tiny, wriggling larvae.

Mosquito larvae are sold in stores in several different colors, but it doesn’t matter to the Betta if you feed it white, red, or black mosquito larvae.

Cyclops

Cyclops are tiny zooplankton that lives in freshwater. Cyclops are tiny and are especially good food for Betta babies. However, I feed cyclops to many of my fish, including my adult Bettas.

Because cyclops is a live food, you can add it to the water and it will survive for 2 to 3 days, giving the Betta time to eat it all. Unlike flake or pellet food, cyclops won’t start to rot if it hasn’t been eaten within an hour or two.

Best Frozen Foods For Betta Fish?

Frozen fish foods offer all the benefits of live foods but in a far more convenient way. Frozen foods live in the freezer and last for many months. It is easier to pop a couple of cubes out of a packet than it is to try and keep a bag of live foods alive.

All of the most commonly available live foods are available in frozen form. There are also many other types of frozen fish food that are rarely seen in live form. At the time of writing, I have 10 different frozen fish foods in my freezer, almost all of which are eaten by my Bettas. They include;

  • Bloodworm
  • Daphnia
  • Mosquito Larvae
  • Cyclops
  • Brine Shrimp
  • Mysis Shrimp
  • Tubifex Worms
  • Chopped Mussel
  • Lobster Eggs
  • Herbivore Mix


Best Freeze Dried Food For Bettas?

Freeze-dried foods are seriously underappreciated in the freshwater fishkeeping hobby. I can’t understand why. I feed my Bettas lots of freeze-dried foods.

Freeze-dried foods are usually dried versions of the live foods we feed our Bettas. Bloodworms, daphnia, tubifex worms, and Mysis shrimp are the most commonly fed freeze-dried foods. The major advantage freeze-dried foods have over both live and frozen foods is their easy storage. Freeze-dried foods kept in an airtight container last pretty much forever.

I have found the following freeze-dried foods to be the best for my Bettas.

Hikari Bio-Pure Freeze Dried Daphnia

As you may have noticed I am a fan of Hikari foods generally, and their freeze-dried daphnia is no different. I have tried several brands of freeze-dried daphnia, and this one seems the best to me. I especially like the fact it does not disintegrate and cloud my aquarium water.

Hikari freeze-dried daphnia is guaranteed to be free of parasites and harmful bacteria which brings peace of mind, especially when I am feeding my baby Betta fish.

San Francisco Bay Brand Freeze Dried Tubifex

Tubifex worms are a great addition to a Bettas diet, but live tubifex worms are well known for bringing pests and diseases into an aquarium thanks to the polluted water they like to live in. Freeze-dried tubifex worms on the other hand are completely pests and disease-free thanks to the freeze-drying process.

I feed my Bettas a lot of tubifex worms, and I feel the San Fransico Bay brand is the best. I usually just order a tub from Amazon and feed them to my Bettas once or twice a week.

Tetra Freeze-Dried Bloodworms

Freeze-dried bloodworms offer our Bettas all the goodness and nutrients of live or frozen bloodworms, but in a far easier to store form.

Much like the other freeze-dried foods on my list, these bloodworms are disease-free and last for many months, even years when kept in an airtight container.

Hikari Bio-Pure Freeze Dried Daphnia for Pets, 0.42-Ounce
San Francisco Bay Brand Freeze Dried Tubifex 1/2 oz.
My Favorite
Tetra® BloodWorms 0.25 Oz, Freeze-Dried Food for Freshwater and Saltwater Fish
Hikari Bio-Pure Freeze Dried Daphnia for Pets, 0.42-Ounce
San Francisco Bay Brand Freeze Dried Tubifex 1/2 oz.
Tetra® BloodWorms 0.25 Oz, Freeze-Dried Food for Freshwater and Saltwater Fish
loose (free flowing)
Cubed (in small cubes)
Prime
Hikari Bio-Pure Freeze Dried Daphnia for Pets, 0.42-Ounce
Hikari Bio-Pure Freeze Dried Daphnia for Pets, 0.42-Ounce
loose (free flowing)
Cubed (in small cubes)
Prime
San Francisco Bay Brand Freeze Dried Tubifex 1/2 oz.
San Francisco Bay Brand Freeze Dried Tubifex 1/2 oz.
loose (free flowing)
Cubed (in small cubes)
Prime
My Favorite
Tetra® BloodWorms 0.25 Oz, Freeze-Dried Food for Freshwater and Saltwater Fish
Tetra® BloodWorms 0.25 Oz, Freeze-Dried Food for Freshwater and Saltwater Fish
loose (free flowing)
Cubed (in small cubes)
Prime

Last update on 2022-09-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

One golden rule to remember when feeding your Betta freeze-dried foods is always soak the food in a little aquarium water before giving them to your Betta. Freeze-dried foods have had all their moisture removed. If you feed them to your Betta without rehydrating them, they can absorb moisture from inside your Betta, which can lead to constipation and other internal disorders.


https://youtu.be/kF1TlAYCkPE

How Often Should You Feed A Betta?

As with any fish, feeding a Betta little and often is better than feeding one large meal a day. By feeding your Betta 3 or 4 small meals a day, you give the Betta a chance to eat, digest, then eat again a few hours later. When a Betta is given a large meal in one sitting they tend to gorge themselves which can lead to bloating.

Feeding little and often is also better for your Bettas aquarium filter as the Bettas waste is spread out across the day rather than in one go.

I feed all my Bettas 3 or 4 times a day. At each feeding, I try to give them something different. For example, I might give them pellets in the morning, followed by flake food in the afternoon, then live or frozen food in the evening before the lights go out.

Some articles online will advocate giving your Betta a rest day where they don’t get fed at all. I have never found this to be beneficial. In the wild Betta fish don’t have a rest day, they eat every day, all year round.

How Much Should You Feed A Betta?

How much to feed is always a tricky one. Each Betta is different as is each tank we keep them in. A Betta living in a small bowl should be offered less food than one living in a larger tank with tank mates.

The best way to work out how much food to feed your Betta is to put a little in the tank (4 or 5 pellets or a small pinch of flake food) then see how quickly your Betta eats it. If it all goes in a few seconds, consider adding a little more. If the Betta leaves some and appears to lose interest, add a little less next time.

Using this process you should be able to work out how much to feed your Betta within a few days.

Bettas are easily overfed, so care should be taken to quickly work out how much and how often your individual Betta should be fed. If in doubt, feed less rather than more.

What Do Betta Fish Eat in the Wild?

In the wild Betta fish are opportunistic feeders. They will eat any bugs, worms, insects, and crustaceans they come across. No doubt they will also eat baby fish and small invertebrates if presented with the opportunity.

What Should You Look For In A Betta Food?

As discussed, Betta fish are carnivores. As such any food offered to them should have a high (animal-derived) protein content. The figure 30% to 40% crude protein is often banded about.

A good quality Betta food should also contain krill or shrimp as these ingredients help promote good Betta color.

Can You Overfeed A Betta?

Yes! Betta fish are very susceptible to overfeeding due to their naturally greedy nature. Great care should be taken to ensure your Betta fish is not overfed. Overfeeding a Betta may lead to obesity, constipation, swim bladder disease, and other health problems.

Bettas that are overfed on a very high protein diet often suffer from fatty organs which can easily shorten a Bettas lifespan.

What to Do If Betta Stops Eating?

Occasionally a Betta might stop eating. If this is just for a day or two, don’t worry about it too much, but if your Betta refuses to eat after 3 or 4 days, there may be something going on.

Firstly, check your water parameters to make sure the aquarium conditions are not stopping your Betta from eating. Check the water temperature using a reliable thermometer. Also, check you are not suffering from an ammonia spike. A good quality test kit like the API Master Kit will quickly tell you if there is something wrong with your water.

If the aquarium conditions seem ok, check your Betta isn’t swollen. A swollen Betta may be suffering from constipation. Constipation is when a Betta stops going to the bathroom. Constipation can have serious consequences and can even lead to the death of a Betta. If you believe your Betta may be constipated, try feeding some live or frozen daphnia or brine shrimp. Both these foods act as natural laxatives and can help a Betta pass its constipation.

If everything seems ok with your Betta and his aquarium water, but he still won’t eat, try feeding him a different food. Sometimes a Betta can just become bored of eating the same food every day and will just refuse to eat it.

Can Betta Fish Eat Normal Fish Food?

Essentially, yes a Betta can eat pretty much any commercially available fish food. It would not be a good idea to only feed a Betta a flake or pellet which was designed for an algae-eating fish as the food would lack many of the nutrients a Betta requires. However, providing any food is fed as part of a balanced diet, the Betta would be fine eating regular fish food.

Can Betta Fish Eat Bugs?

Yes, Betta fish can eat bugs. In the past, I have fed my Bettas ants, fruit flies, caterpillars, and aphids. Feeding live bugs to Betta fish stimulates their desire to hunt and can prevent boredom from setting in. Just make sure you are certain that any bugs you feed to your Betta are free of insecticides and pesticides.



In Conclusion

There are many different types of food on the market made especially for Bettas. There is no one best food and no one food that every Betta will eat. My best advice to any Betta keeper would be to buy 2 or 3 different Betta fish foods and then give your Betta variety.

Feeding a Betta a varied diet brings in the full range of nutrients Betta fish need and reduces the chances your Betta will get bored of the food it is being fed.


About the Author

I’ve been keeping, breeding, and showing tropical fish for nearly 30 years. Over that time I’ve done it all! I’ve had great success and I’ve made some really foolish mistakes (like the time I bought an Asain Walking Catfish). Read more…
Richard James
Editor